Chemical reactions at a solid-liquid interface are of fundamental importance. Interfacial chemical reactions occur not only at the very interface but also in the subsurface area, while existing monitoring techniques either provide limited spatial resolution or are applicable only for the outmost atomic layer. Here, with the aid of the time-domain analysis with femtosecond acoustics, we demonstrate a subatomic-level-resolution technique to longitudinally monitor chemical reactions at solid-water interfaces, capable of in situ monitoring even the subsurface area under atmospheric conditions. Our work was proven by monitoring the already-known anode oxidation process occurring during photoelectrochemical water splitting. Furthermore, whenever the oxide layer thickness equals an integer number of the effective atomic layer thickness, the measured acoustic echo will show higher signal-to-noise ratios with reduced speckle noise, indicating the quantum-like behavior of this coherent-phonon-based technique.
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